Every year the population of Marysville doubles as visitors make their way towards the slopes of Lake Mountain Alpine Resort 22 kms away. Despite its name, there is no actual lake at Lake Mountain. Instead it was named after the surveyor general George Lake. At its summit the mountain is 1,433 metres.
From as early as the 1920's holiday makers came to the area to enjoy time in the snow. Skiing had become an established sport across the globe and resorts were opening in other alpine areas of south-eastern Australia. The road to Lake Mountain was built by sustenance workers employed by the government during the depression.
In the late 1930's the potential for a ski resort was investigated by the Ski Club of Victoria and the local community. Not much progress was made due to the 1939 bushfires and the following years of World War 2. By 1947 the idea was raised again and the area around Snowy Hill was cleared ready for development. Soon there were 4 gentle ski runs at Berry Higgs Playground. At that time the cross-country trails followed the old logging tracks.
The local branch of the ski club had folded by 1960 and the ski areas were left unmanaged. In the late 1970's the Forests Commission of Victoria took control and created dedicated cross country trails and a toboggan run at Lake Mountain. From the early 80's until 2012 the area was managed by several government authorities and in 2012 the private company Belgravia Leisure was awarded the management lease for the site.
Lake Mountain and the surrounding areas were also devastated by the 2009 Black Saturday fires. Most of the low lying vegetation and many of the smaller trees were incinerated by the intense flames and heat. A large portion of the resort’s infrastructure and equipment was irrevocably damaged and many of the buildings were lost. Fortunately no lives were lost around the mountain area.
A new, state-of-the-art visitor centre was opened in 2011. Today the resort has a number of shops and food venues catering to the 100,000 + visitors each year and has the added insurance of snow-making machines. Before hitting the slopes you can get expert help when you hire equipment and you can enrol in ski-classes to suit your level of experience.
Today the resort boasts 37 kms of ski trails, scenic lookouts, 3 toboggan slopes and snow patrols operating 7 days a week during the ski season. There is something exciting here for everyone to enjoy.
The season in Victoria officially opens on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June and runs through until September.